Why Is Somerset, Ky., Planning to Open a Gas Station?

City's public fuel center will sell regular-grade gas only, no merchandise

SOMERSET, Ky. -- A city in Kentucky has decided to get into the gasoline business after local residents' anger at high fuel prices. Somerset, Ky. (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

Somerset, a city of around 11,000 in the southern part of the Bluegrass State, plans to begin selling regular-grade gasoline to the public in the next two weeks, reported The Commonwealth Journal. The gasoline will go on sale at the City of Somerset's fuel center.

The reason? City officials are questioning the high prices that local private distributors are asking for gasoline. According to the officials, Somerset has become "an island of high gasoline prices," with prices often 20 to 30 cents per gallon higher than neighboring towns and throughout Kentucky.

George Wilson, economic development business coordinator for Somerset, told the newspaper that residents are angry about the lower gasoline prices outside of town.

According to GasBuddy.com, prices for regular unleaded in Somerset ranged from $3.50 to $3.69 per gallon as of June 9, 2014. A search of towns around Somerset showed prices falling within this range.

The City of Somerset Fuel Center will offer 10 nozzles, and sell only 87-octane regular gas. While the city is still finalizing details, plans are to have an attendant staffing the fuel kiosk for core hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., said the report, so that customers can pay with cash or credit card. Customers paying with credit card can access the pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The kiosk will only sell gasoline--no cigarettes or other in-store categories.

Somerset is purchasing gasoline from Continental Refining Co., a local refinery, and will set the price based on an average of cities within a 50-mile radius, the report said.

The fuel center's storage capacity includes 40,000 gallons of gasoline, 40,000 gallons of diesel and 20,000 gallons of off-road diesel. It also houses Somerset's compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling operations, which serves the city's own fleet and was reportedly the first private CNG fueling site in the state.

Click here to view the full Commonwealth Journal report and to take a look at the station.


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